Judge allows key evidence to stand in case of man who shot, wounded cop

CHICAGO (STMW) - A Cook County judge on Friday ruled that key evidence against a man accused of shooting a Chicago Police officer, including a .38-caliber pistol recovered by cops, can be presented at his trial, the CHicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The ruling came despite defense attorneys’ insistence that officers recovered the weapon after searching the basement of his family’s South Side home illegally.

While the “protective sweep” of the home in the 8400 block of South Kingston was not justified, the officers’ initial entry into the residence and ensuing search that led to the weapon, bullets and a shirt was lawful because Paris Sadler’s mother gave her consent to police during what she described as a “civil” encounter, Judge Thaddeus Wilson said in his 53-page ruling.

In his ruling, Wilson also skewered now-fired prosecutor Joseph Lattanzio for making “untrue statements” about never making edits or corrections in the interview he conducted with Sadler’s mother, Talaina Cureton, following the March 19, 2012, shooting that severely wounded Officer Del Pearson.

“A prosecutor cannot be arrogant, narcissistic and caught up in the culture of winning. A prosecutor cannot succumb to the whims and demands of the police in carrying out his official duties,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

“It has been said that the role of a prosecutor is not racking up convictions. It’s about getting to the truth. However, when getting to the truth is callously disregarded and insulted, there can be no public trust in the system, and we all lose.”

Wilson, however, added that just because Lattanzio made “misstatements,” it doesn’t mean Cureton isn’t bending the truth herself.

“Things aren’t that simple, as the defendant fails to take into account the possibility that both of these individuals might be lying, shading the truth or ‘misremembering’ the facts,” Wilson wrote.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced Lattanzio’s ouster in September, roughly a month after he testified that he had made no changes to Cureton’s statement as defense attorneys presented a bombshell in the form of secret video recordings Cureton made with a tablet computer while she was being questioned.

Cureton said she allowed the police to search her home only after they went down and looked around the basement where Sadler lived.

Several officers—whom Wilson found credible—testified that Cureton signed a consent form and even had it read out loud to her. They never heard her ask for, nor call an attorney, and said a search warrant was obtained after the officers found the gun linked to the shooting nestled “in a little hole” in a basement bathroom.

While police were at the home, Cureton called the now 24-year-old Sadler on his cellphone, according to court testimony. He emerged from the basement. When police started asking him questions, Sadler started “sweating profusely” as if it “just started raining water from his body,” one officer recalled.

On Friday, Wilson also set a $1 million bond for Sadler after his dattorney, Ashley Shambley, noted that while her client was being held without bond for allegedly shooting and injuring Pearson, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was given $1.5 million bond for a shooting that led to 17-year-old Laquan McDonald’s death.

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